Iowa gubernatorial candidates defend, attack same-sex marriage in televised debate

Chet Culver (left), and Terry Branstad

Chet Culver (left), and Terry Branstad

Chet Culver (left), and Terry Branstad

More than a year after the Iowa Supreme Court ruled to allow same-sex marriage in the “Hawkeye” state, the argument continues, taking stage at last night’s debate between gubernatorial candidates Chet Culver, the Democratic incumbent, and Republican rival Terry Branstad.

In the topic of same-sex marriage, Culver said, ”It has not had an effect on the state of Iowa, other than allowing people to make their own decisions.”

“The people of Iowa are the ones that should have the final say on this,” Branstad responded. “They should be given the same opportunity as 31 other states and every state from Maine to California where it’s been on the ballot, the people have voted for it. Iowans deserve that same opportunity and that’s why I think we need to change the leadership of the legislature that’s not given the legislature an opportunity to vote on this and the people a chance to vote on it.”

“We need to move on. We need to move forward,” dismissed Culver. “We do not need to add discrimination to our constitution.”

The Iowa Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in April 2009 in a unanimous decision. Republicans attempted numerous procedural moves to force a vote on a constitutional ban on gay marriage, all of which have been thwarted by Democrats.

The most recent Iowa poll gives Branstad a 19-point advantage over Culver. Branstad previously served four terms as Governor of Iowa, from 1983 to 1999.

Also in Iowa, a campaign is underway in Iowa to unseat three state Supreme Court Justices in the November general election who were part of the Court’s decision to allow same-sex marriage.

And the Iowa Catholic Conference is urging the state’s Catholics to vote to convene a constitutional convention, as a means of overturning the ruling. Every 10 years the General Election ballot allows Iowans to vote to set up a convention to consider changes in the state constitution.

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